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Study Sheds Light on Common Cause of Back Pain

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

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  • The joints in your spine contain a bony vertebrae, spinal disc and cartilage endplates, which act as cushions for the vertebrae
  • An overgrowth of nerves into the cartilaginous endplates in the spine could be to blame for many cases of low back pain
  • Cells called osteoclasts create a “Swiss cheese-like” bony structure where soft, cartilage should be, with the spaces providing room for nerves to penetrate the area
  • Overuse and misuse of the muscles supporting your spine, poor muscle strength and inappropriate posture while sitting, standing and walking are also reasons why you may suffer from lower back pain
  • Bodyweight exercises that strengthen and elongate your core and posterior chain — which includes all the muscles that connect to your pelvis — may alleviate many chronic pain issues

Unexplained low back pain is incredibly common, affecting about 80% of adults at some point during their lifetimes. In the last three months, more than one-quarter of U.S. adults report that they’ve experienced low back pain, which is the most common cause of job-related disability, according to the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

The direct and indirect costs associated with low back pain are immense, reaching $90 billion a year in the U.S. alone. In most cases, low back pain resolves on its own in a few days or weeks, but sometimes it persists for 12 weeks or more, at which point it’s considered chronic.

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